In 1984, it was radical thinking to prioritize LGBTQ+ travel as a key market. That made the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association’s first convention, which was held in San Francisco, stand out. Our groundbreaking mission to expand LGBTQ+ tourism globally made us a resource for queer travelers—and the agents, tour operators, hotels and tourism bureaus eager to attract them.
Today our mission continues, and the IGLTA Annual Global Convention is more important than ever. Each spring, our organization brings to our convention host city the year’s best new ideas, resources, and services that help strengthen the LGBTQ+ tourism community at home and abroad.
More than anything, however, the convention links like-minded professionals who are truly the innovators of our industry. And that’s where the magic happens.
For our upcoming 35th Annual Global Convention, May 9–12 in Toronto, IGLTA will unite new and longtime colleagues, partners and friends for a magical time “Together”—which is the theme of this year’s gathering. Together we are stronger, and the connections we form through face-to-face quality time remain the most effective way to evolve as a tourism community, and as a powerful market.
This year’s convention will build on the successes of those past with panel discussions, education sessions, networking events, and other opportunities to travel, learn and connect. Thought leaders like Albert Herrera of Virtuoso and Maria Cuba of Airbnb Experiences will speak about LGBTQ+ travel and tourism trends. Fabrice Houdart, Human Rights Officer, Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, will moderate a talk on “The Intersection of Human Rights and Tourism.” Rika Jean-Francois of ITB Berlin will discuss sustainability in tourism with Randy Durban, head of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. These are just a few of the incredible General Sessions presentations on this year’s agenda.
The convention also serves a very practical purpose for our attendees. Our Buyer/Supplier Marketplace remains the leading global LGBTQ+ networking event of its kind. It’s where business meets social networking, with suppliers (including specialty tour operators, resorts, and visitors bureaus) introducing their latest offerings to buyers keen to serve our dynamic market.
It’s not all strictly business, though. The convention includes a lavish welcoming reception, networking luncheons, our Voyage fundraising dinner to benefit the IGLTA Foundation, the ever-popular Media Networking Event and other sociable outings in beautiful, LGBTQ-welcoming Toronto. On that note, we’re especially proud to gather in Canada—a country that’s doing things right, and we’re thrilled to share the love.
IGLTA is, at its core, a connector. True, our association prides itself on its tactical services. But the old-fashioned necessity remains to introduce industry professionals face to face.
Our members and partners already share the common bonds of being equality-minded and passionate about world travel. And there’s simply no better place than our Annual Global Convention to authentically engage with LGBTQ+ tourism experts and supporters.
I look forward to seeing you in Toronto in May!
Click here for registration information.